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Is almond oil good for dry skin caused by cancer treatment?

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Updated November 14, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Is almond oil good for dry skin caused by cancer treatment?
I recently started the drug Tarceva and my skin has become very dry. A lot of people tell me to use almond oil instead of drug store lotions. Will almond oil work for my dry skin?
Answer: Almond oil is primarily used for massage therapy purposes, but is sometimes used by cancer patients to combat dry, itchy, and irritated skin caused by treatment.

Some people prefer almond oil over other moisturizers because it is absorbed by the skin quickly and is non-greasy. It is inexpensive ($3 to $20, depending on brand and amount), and you don't have to use very much when applying it (about 3 to 5 drops per area). Almond oil is fragrance- and perfume-free, and it does not contain added ingredients that may further irritate the skin. There is a very light almond scent that is barely noticeable, however.

There are a couple of things you should know before using almond oil. If you are allergic to nuts, you should not use it. Secondly, before using any medication or remedy, talk to your doctor or nurse. While almond oil is natural, your doctor may prefer you to use another product that may be more effective.

You can buy almond oil at natural/homeopathy stores and grocers. It is widely available via online retailers as well. Although not necessary, some people choose to refrigerate the oil to prolong its shelf life.

Very little almond oil is used during application, so it may take some time before you use an entire bottle.

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